Each year, the Child Care Council's Public Policy Committee drafts an agenda to determine the focus of advocacy efforts. The 2022 agenda, approved by the Board of Directors at our October meeting, sets an ambitious course.
"Children and families need your active support of the Child Care Council's 2022 Public Policy Agenda," said Camille Murphy, Chair of Public Policy Committee. "With your help, the USA will move into a leadership position for children in our nation, state and local communities - where it should be."
The Council's advocacy efforts are designed to help us achieve our vision: Equitable access to affordable, high quality early learning programs so that all children can realize their dreams and potential, all parents can work and advance in their careers, and our community has a skilled and productive workforce.
How can you help? Read our 2022 Public Policy Agenda, then:
- Use our Voter Voice form to send a letter to elected officials
- Join us at budget hearings - to show support, or to speak. Just share your personal feelings about why child care is important.
- Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and share our advocacy messages with your followers
- Ask your network to do all of the above. If you're a child care provider, please get parents in your program involve
Each year, we use our Cathryn A. Riley Leadership Fund Scholarship to give one member of the child care/after school community a scholarship to Leadership Westchester (LW), Volunteer New York's nine-month leadership program. This helps prepare our early care and education leaders for more visible and significant public roles, and gives us a way to share the impact of the child care community's critical work with emerging leaders from all over the county. Following a rigorous selection process, Dawn Meyerski, Executive Director of the Mt. Kisco Child Care Center, was chosen for her leadership of an outstanding child care program, and her commitment to advocacy on behalf of children, families and the child care industry.
"In a crazy busy world, I have enjoyed the opportunity to slow down and listen to and share with others from many different business sectors," said Dawn. "I am eager to continue this journey as we begin the exploration of our own leadership styles and work toward determining what our impact will be for the future."
The Cathryn Riley Leadership Fund is named for a program coordinator at the Child Care Council who lost her life in a tragic car accident at the age of 45. Designed to promote leadership and innovation in the field of early childhood and school age care, we hope to honor Cate's contributions as a teacher, mentor and leader. Scholarship recipients are chosen by the Fund's Executive Committee: Child Care Council Executive Director Kathy Halas, former Child Care Council Executive Director Lottie Harris, Westchester Community College Early Childhood Education Professor Mary Lou Sgro, and Dr. Pat Amanna, formerly the Director fo the Children's Center at Purchase College.
"I am so glad that Dawn was selected for Leadership Westchester," said Lottie Harris. "She will be an excellent participant on behalf of the child care community. Leadership Westchester is an outstanding program that has been training leaders in a variety of fields for many years. Not only does the individual benefit but the entire group becomes aware of many different professions and what each one contributes to the community as a whole."
The Leadership Westchester program kicked off on October 19th with an opening retreat, and will continue with full and half day sessions through June 2022. We look forward to following along with Dawn's LW journey and celebrating her graduation in the spring!
The Child Care Council of Westchester was selected by Nonprofit Westchester as the 2021 recipient of the Organization Changemaker Award, in recognition of going "above and beyond in professional service with innovative approaches in partnership and collaboration to ensure that our Westchester communities remain thriving." Thank you, Nonprofit Westchester!
"I'm thrilled to see the Child Care Council's hardworking staff being recognized and celebrated with this immense honor," said Executive Director Kathy Halas. "Throughout the pandemic, every request from a parent or child care provider has been met with creative problem-solving, innovative solutions, and a selfless determination to just step up and get it done. As a result of our staff's actions, parents were able to find and pay for child care, and go back to work serving our community. Children were kept safe and healthy, and their development and mental health needs were addressed. I am amazed, grateful, and lucky to work with such an incredible team of people."
Please join us to celebrate virtually!
Want to learn about what we accomplished in 2020? Check out our most recent Annual Report.
Upon launching a new Advisory Council of child care business owners this fall, we quickly learned that one of the biggest issues facing providers is not having enough staff to operate at full capacity. This makes it difficult to run a business, and for thousands of working parents who depend on child care, impossible to go back to work! While deep issues regarding wages within the industry need to be addressed in the State and County budgets, we are reaching out to the public through legislators, colleges, libraries, community organizations, virtual career fairs, employment websites and media outlets, and encouraging qualified applicants to consider a career in child care. We then connect aspiring child care professionals with employers on our website, and offer free training through our partnership with Westchester County.
More than 250 child care professionals, parents and business, community and nonprofit leaders gathered virtually on October 28th for the Westchester Child Care Advocacy Hour, Watch it on YouTube.
After an introduction by Child Care Council of Westchester Board President Christie Noelle Krase, Council Executive Director Kathy Halas made “the ask” for child care funding in the 2022 Westchester County Budget, which includes:
• New Title XX child care subsidy slots
• Restoring the Westchester Child Care Scholarship Program
• Raising Westchester’s subsidy reimbursement rates
• Hiring staff for subsidy outreach and application assistance